Massachusetts Health Insurance Connector Approves Increase In Affordability Standards

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The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector on Thursday approved new rules thatincrease the monthly premium considered affordable by about 10% from 2007levels, the Boston Globe reports. Under the state's health insurance law, residents who do notobtain coverage face a penalty of up to $912 if they are uninsured for thewhole year unless the state determines that they are unable to afford coverage.

The new rules establish a sliding scale based on income and family size thatindicates whether the state considers premiums affordable. For example,according to the sliding scale, an individual with an annual income of morethan $52,500 would be considered able to afford coverage regardless of thepremium, while an individual who earns between $37,501 and $42,500 annuallywould be required to purchase coverage if the premium was $220 per month orless. The new rules will be finalized after the Connector holds a publichearing and a second vote.

Consumer advocates said they believe the new rules will require older residentswith moderate incomes to spend too much on coverage. John McDonough, executivedirector of Health Care for All, said, "We are still concernedthat the standard is not genuinely affordable" (Dembner, BostonGlobe, 4/11).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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